Genesis 35 – WHAT WOULD THEY SAY?

Posted: December 9, 2018 in Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

Genesis 35 – WHAT WOULD THEY SAY? 

Too many voices © Image created by Ross Cochrane

The previous chapter, Genesis 34, reads like a Newspaper article on child abuse, terrorism and human trafficking. 

A local prince of Shechem, whose name is also Shechem, seizes Dinah, the young daughter of Jacob, and rapes her. Jacob does nothing but when Jacob’s sons discover what has happened, Simeon and Levi, who were Dinah’s full brothers, take their swords and enter the town and slaughter not only Shechem, but every male. Meanwhile, the rest of Jacob’s sons take all their little children and wives and lead them away as captives. They also plunder the town – everything they can lay their hands on.  

I wonder what would Jacob think and feel about all this? 

THE VOICES OF JACOB 

Jacob: Sometimes the image of who I am created to be is blurred by my unhealthy responses to God. “Who am I?” “What am I doing?” “How did all this happen?”  

There are all these voices in my head that I keep replaying over and over again and they lead me around in circles.  

I hear the voices of my parents, Isaac and Rebekah. My Dad wasn’t a terribly good father, favouring Esau above me. I was influenced by my Mum to succeed in life but in all the wrong ways. I keep hearing Laban’s voice, my Father-in-law, and it is always so abrupt. Esau’s voice in my mind is always revengeful and bitter. Leah’s voice is grief-stricken by what has happened to our daughter. Who do I listen to? 

WHAT WOULD LABAN SAY? (Jacob’s father-in-law) 

You shouldn’t have left me, Jacob. You wouldn’t find yourself in this mess if only you had stayed. But I must admit, going to Shechem was a good choice. Lots of trade. Sure, they are an idolatrous lot, but you made a lot of money in trade. You had to look after your family and household and sometimes that means making deals. Too bad it has turned out so badly. They’ll never trade with you again. You should have stayed with me for another 7 years. 

Jacob: When I had to run from Esau, I worked with you for 20 years. I have allowed your pagan idolatry and Shechem’s perverted morality to infiltrate my household and I have done nothing about it? My sons, your grandsons, have committed a terrible criminal act. 

WHAT WOULD ESAU SAY? (Jacob’s brother) 

Be honest, Jacob. You stayed near Shechem because that’s the kind of people you want to mix with; deceitful and manipulative, wicked and morally corrupt.  

You’re a loser, Jacob. You have failed. You’re just a Mommy’s boy, pushed around by her and others all your life, afraid to step out and make your own decisions.  

Just look at your life. You got caught in the trap of living up to the expectations of our Mother, Rebekah, then Laban, and then bowing to every whim of your wives, Rachel and Leah. You have been play-acting, pretending and manipulating. No-one knows who you really are. You have no real, intimate, honest relationships with anyone, especially your own family.  

You shouldn’t have stolen my birthright, brother. Now your daughter is traumatised and your sons have committed murder, plunder and human trafficking. Where were you? What response have you made? You’re a coward. I should have killed you myself. 

You fled to Bethel once from me. Now you have to flee from the revenge of people in the towns near Shechem. You are not all that popular anymore, Jacob.  

If I were God, I would leave you to face the wrath of the residents of the surrounding towns. It would save me the trouble. 

WHAT WOULD ISAAC SAY? (Jacob’s Dad) 

I knew something like this would happen. Now, you are anxious over the debts you have incurred from the crisis for which you have caused, unable to fulfil your real potential in life. That’s why Esau was my choice. 

I knew you couldn’t handle the birthright, Jacob. Esau could have done it better. God gave you the promise He has given to all our family since Abraham. He should have given it to Esau. You’ve made a mess of it.  

You have experienced various traumas in your life, Jacob, some avoidable and others not, and you have not coped well. You have manipulated others, including me, but now you are beaten, without purpose, unable to move, playing the “if only” game. If only my sons hadn’t murdered the men of Shechem, we could have lived here peacefully.  

I’m sorry to say this, son, but Esau is right. You have been acting like a loser. Losers  don’t pursue their God-given destiny. You’ve been waiting in an unhealthy place hoping for some kind of a miracle but God is waiting for you to take some initiative and obey Him. You’ve finally deceived yourself. 

WHAT WOULD REBEKAH SAY? (Jacob’s mother) 

Leave him alone! We’ve all been involved in deceiving others and ourselves. It seems to me that God sees something in his heart that you don’t see and that even he doesn’t see yet. So, there’s hope. 

Don’t listen to them, Jacob. Listen to me. You’ve always been my favourite. Come on Jacob. What are you doing? Run! Protect yourself. Move!  

Jacob: You think I need to run?  

WHAT WOULD LEVI AND SIMEON SAY? (Two of Jacob’s sons) 

Yes, run, Father. It’s better than what you have been doing: wasting your time, not learning from your past, fearful of your future, and uninvolved in your household. Frankly, you have been irresponsible, placing our family in environments of danger. If it wasn’t for us, you would have let that wicked Paedophile, Shechem, get away with raping our sister and all their morally corrupt men to violate all our women. You are more concerned about business and trade than about us. 

WHAT WOULD LEAH SAY? (One of Jacob’s wives) 

They are right Jacob! How could you be so unloving to your own daughter, wives and sons, hiding behind your mask and disappearing when we needed you the most. You lack confidence in God and yourself. You’re helpless, hopeless, blaming others, lacking in dignity and respect from your father Isaac and my Father, Laban, and from your brother Esau, your cousins and now your whole household.  

Why did you make us stay in Shechem? Why is it only now you want to leave? Because of your reputation? It’s obviously not because of what has happened to Dinah. If only we had moved to Bethel in the first place, but now it’s too late to change the damage that has been done.  

Jacob: I didn’t think that … 

Leah: That’s the trouble, Jacob. You didn’t think. Did you think that God would intervene although you made decisions that don’t reflect His will for your life? You didn’t take action to protect your daughter, so our sons did. And now you are in grief and shame.  

Jacob: I know. That was my choice and I was wrong. 

Leah: You need more than mere repentance for all that has transpired for your negligence and silence. Your deceitful behaviour and your dysfunctional fathering and attitudes are appalling.  

Your actions have brought judgment upon us. I’m ashamed of you. 

Jacob: I know I have failed you, Leah. Do you really think this is a judgement of God? 

WHAT IS GOD SAYING? 

There is no judgment upon you from Me. You created your own judgment, enough for any lifetime, by coming out from the umbrella of My grace and playing with a wicked city.  

Jacob, you were born to succeed in life. You have been shaped to be a leader and patriarch, someone to be respected, living an authentic faith life, trustworthy and stable, responsive to Me and to your family. 

Genesis 35:1 (NLT) Jacob, “Get ready and move to Bethel and settle there. Build an altar there to the God who appeared to you when you fled from your brother, Esau.” Now I am commanding you to get up and get going to where you were intended to go in the first place.  

Jacob: It seems that I have been running away from You all my life, Lord, rather than running to You, but now I am trying to listen to Your still, small voice. Thank You that You are still there, speaking to me among the other voices screaming at me. I am amazed that Your voice has remained faithful and gracious, not judging and demanding, inviting me to enter into the life for which I was created.  

Now it has come to this. You have to command me again to go, and do what I should have done years ago by my own free will. 

I built an altar to You at Shechem but now unfortunately, it will only be a reminder to the townships in the area of the most atrocious criminal acts. I am so sorry, Lord, that it will not only be associated with me but now also with You.   

God:  There’s nothing you can do about the past but to accept the responsibility for your actions or lack thereof, repent, and accept the consequences. I have said in Joel 2:13 says, “Don’t tear your clothing in your grief, but tear your hearts instead. Return to Me, the Lord your God, for I am merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. I am eager to relent and not punish.”  

Jacob: I am afraid, Lord. The people from the towns will bring their revenge on me. 

God: Don’t miss the point, Jacob. Lot moved too close to Sodom (Genesis 19). You moved too close to Shechem. Lot had to move or die. You have to move or die. 

You can’t change what has happened or how people respond to it. Building an altar in Bethel will bring you back to fulfilling and honouring Me. Let your life from this point on begin to bring closure to the past and hope for the future.  

In 2 Chronicles 7:14 (NLT2) I have written, “… if My people who are called by My Name will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.”  

WHAT WILL YOU SAY? 

Where have you settled? What voices haunt you from your past and stymy you from your God-given destiny? The invitation of Genesis 35 is not to listen to the voices of the past or present that thwart your progress and place you and others in jeopardy but to listen to what God is saying above the shouting and abuse in your own head. 

Jesus Christ has paid the penalty for your sins and mine and offers us forgiveness and a relationship with Him. In John 10:27-30 (NLT) Jesus says “My sheep listen to My voice; I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from Me, for my Father has given them to Me, and He is more powerful than anyone else. No one can snatch them from the Father’s hand. The Father and I are one.”

Acts 16:31 (NLT) says, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, along with everyone in your household.”  

Pastor Ross 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s